General Question

Spargett's avatar

Any way to "distress" or lighten furniture's finish?

Asked by Spargett (5385points) April 24th, 2008

I bought a few things from IKEA, which were “black-brown”. In the store they were much more brown than black with a slightly worn look. At home, they’re jet black and super modern looking. Not what I had in mind.

Is there anyway using a chemical or other method to just lighten up the finish a tad, and in the process give it a more aged and lighter wood tone?

Here’s an example of one of things I purchased: Alve Desk

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7 Answers

Allie's avatar

Maybe a tad bit of paint thinner? Hmm? With some steel wool?

I don’t know.

wildflower's avatar

I’d go with paint-stripper or bleach diluted in water and scrub the desk with a brush in this solution…..that way you’re bound to get it bleached more on the central part that the edges and corners, adding to the worn look.

peedub's avatar

If you wanna go all out on the desk you can always try one of Ralph Lauren’s faux techniques. Personally, I would just get some 120 grit sand paper and hit the edges and what not. If the sanded parts are too light you can dab them with stainer or else something else dark like coffee that stains well.

jz1220's avatar

Christopher Lowell once did a segment on how to achieve that “shabby-chic” look with wood furniture. It was quite interesting, he took a leather belt and whipped the wood repeatedly. It was kind of funny, but in the end the wood had all these welts and notches as if it had been aging for years.

judochop's avatar

you may have picked up the wrong color. I have house full of ikea and I know what you
mean about the colors.
Try a stain stripper and steel wool.

susanc's avatar

Furniture finishes shouldn’t respond to bleach, really. Sandpaper or steel woo,
re-stain and then a coat of some kind of sealer – varathane or an oil finish – would
make it just the way you wanted it. But I think judochop is right about the accidental
receipt of black furniture. Can you return what you have? Ha ha on getting it back in
the box.

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